14 November 2022
Twelve months ago, UN COP 26 climate talks in Glasgow were described as the
“last best hope for the world to get its act together”
and avert climate breakdown. As world leaders gather in Sharm El Sheikh, for the latest global check on planet saving progress, evidence suggests they have yet to fully do so.
Restricting temperature rises to 1.5 degrees was the headline pledge in 2021, a level calculated to:
- keep 10 million homes safe from rising seas
- reduce water scarcity significantly
- protect countless people from life threatening heat and humidity
- preserve more of our ecosystem
Surely a priority to unite the nations? But, alas, no … or maybe not yet. The IPCC currently forecast that temperatures rise above 1.5 degrees could be seen as early as 2050. That is within the next 2 decades. That is now pretty much within all our lifetimes and signals decline, not progress.
‘Why not?’ we may ask in disbelief,
but turning the mirror inwards I also need to face the question,
‘What have I done to help to protect this wonderful world?’
Look, I’m not deluded, it is clearly to the world-wide stage that we must look for the solutions that will steer us away from climate catastrophe. But, closer to home, I also vowed, in November 2021, to try and mend my ways and care better for my carbon footprint. So what of me?
Looking back at last year’s post, I believe that my quest was to make ‘one new environmental move per month‘.
Well, soap now reigns supreme, as both shower gel and shampoo have been banished for good from my bathroom to reduce the plastic trash in our blue recycling bin. In fact, following last year’s ‘Going a bit greener’ post, I was given so many shampoo bars that I’m still making my way through them – those little lathering blocks last for months! With Christmas on the horizon, if you are looking for some greener gifts, I can certainly recommend the eco-suds. There are so many gorgeous products to choose from, it is difficult to go wrong and every beauty reviewer from Cosmo to the Good Housekeeping Institute will offer you a ‘top ten’ but for endless and affordable quality, do check out my favourites at Gruum!
Our water usage is also down significantly (bringing the additional bonus of a £120 bill reduction) A loud maternal voice achieved this one, educating teenagers in the art of not setting the washing machine off with one ‘jumper I just must have for tomorrow’ circling round in the drum, insisting that the dishwasher runs on a full load and generally shouting (a lot) at my offspring’ for their insane habit of running the shower for 5 minutes before getting in!
And finally our cleaning products have gone greener as Ocean Saver hit the supermarket shelves and now stock my kitchen cupboard. Every bit as effective as other products but run on plant-based refills, making a further reduction in the dreaded plastic packaging.
But… a little bit like the world leaders, one year on, 3 or 4 changes has fallen sadly short of my bold monthly pledge. So I’m giving myself a much needed wake-up call and, on my drive to work this week, the radio bring me a timely inspiration – Zero-waste mum! Otherwise known as, the fabulous Jen Gale whose household of mum, dad, two kids and a dog, have filled the general waste bin only once in the last 9 months! She sound super enthusiastic in her interview and makes it all sound very achievable. Nonetheless, I might start a little smaller. The grey bin is emptied once every 3 weeks in our corner of the Northwest. I, with mostly only 1 kid now and zero canines, am going to aim to have it emptied once every 6 weeks.
“And that…” I tell Small boy “… is my New Year Resolution for 2023!”
“Why not start now?” he replies
I guess he is right; no excuses! After the general waste bin is next emptied, we start the 6 week clock. Glancing into the murky depths of the current bags of grey-bin garbage, I think plastics will be the challenge. The helpful words of recycling guru Jen Gale remind me that soft plastics are now recycled at the supermarket, but this still leaves lots of food trays, margarine tubs and yogurt pots. Maybe we’ll just have to get less of them.
So here goes, will keep you posted and try to keep more successfully on the environmental trail before COP 28 is on the news reels. Maybe what both I and the world leaders need are 4 or 6 monthly reviews of progress to keep us on eco-track….